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Connecting to joy

3 May 2022

One of the world’s most successful travel writers considers how houseplants have the power to change disconnected lives for the better. Including her own. Words & Photos Liz Carlson

In a day and age when the world seems so unpredictable, where we’ve spent unexpected chunks of time stuck at home, and where our lives seem to trickle by with Facebook posts and tweets about the news, it’s no wonder there has been a total and complete renaissance of hobbies that involve our hands. With so many hours spent scrolling online and tapping screens, there’s been a reckoning, especially with my fellow burnt-out millennials when it comes to disconnecting. We crave it. We need something to balance out just how much of our lives take place online. We see this with the growing interest in sustainable
gardening, pottery, tramping, and even houseplants. There’s an urge within so many of us to find simple joys in making things and caring for things. And there is a profound communal sense of trying to get closer to nature or even bring nature inside.

It’s no coincidence that houseplant sales boomed with the COVID pandemic and the first lockdowns in New Zealand. Bored, stressed, and stuck at home, many of us began to invest like crazy in making our spaces more comfortable and happy, as well as looking for at-home hobbies that spark joy. And there are only so many times you can rearrange your closets before you need to find something else to do.

Indoor plants were there and ready to fill the void. In the years leading up to COVID, I had what I can only
describe as a mild to moderate case of houseplant fever. It all started with orchids. Well, actually it all started with fresh-cut florals. Every few weeks I would buy myself a bouquet of flowers to brighten up my flat in Wānaka. One day my eyes shifted to the orchids next to the checkout desk and I decided to swap my flowers for a plant, which I immediately killed by accident. Undeterred, a few months later I brought home a little peace lily, and then it was all go from there...

Read the full story in our May issue – on shelves now.
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